When Even Europe Notices

Gregor Peter Schmitz notes in an introductory paragraph in his recent Spiegel International Online article

Global politics have come to a standstill in recent years, with the United States unwilling to show leadership….

He repeated this theme near the end of his article:

You would think it were high time for Obama to jump back into the saddle [referring to restoring American global leadership] before he gets reduced to a lame-duck status.  But no matter how many blinding smiles the notoriously perky Biden flashes in Berlin and Munich, this is probably too much to expect.

In emphasizing this American withdrawal, Schmitz noted a couple of things:

In 1998, then-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright called America the “indispensable nation.”  But now, 15 years later, it is primarily an exhausted one, a global power in decline that has its gaze turned toward the domestic front…

which he said matter-of-factly, as an established truth.  And

[W]hen Obama recently gave his second inaugural address, he avoided making any reference to John F Kennedy’s 1961 inaugural speech, in which he said that America would “pay any price, bear any burden…in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty” around the globe.  Instead, the key sentence of Obama’s speech was: “A decade of war is now ending.”

It’s especially telling that the continent that for so long decried America the “global policeman” and American “arrogance” now is noticing the pell-mell retreat from the world that the Obama administration is effecting.

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